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Pilots, maintainers celebrate July 4th supporting community flyovers

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah -- Flyovers by four Hill F-16s wowed crowds at parade routes and parks in nearly 15 communities July 4th.

Pilots from the 388th and 419th Fighter Wings flew over Independence Day celebrations in West Point, Centerville, Park City, Provo, Delta, Tooele, Clearfield, Hooper, Riverdale, North Ogden, Vernal, Henefer, Riverton, and Kaysville.

Hill F-16s have been flying over local communities on July 4th for more than 15 years.

"We are proud to partner with the 388th FW to participate in these patriotic celebrations," said Col. Gary Batinich, 419th FW commander. "The flyovers are our way of saying thank you. We are proud to live, work and serve in such a supportive community."

In addition to the pilots, more than 60 maintenance personnel worked during the holiday to support the flyover missions.

"There are a lot of people behind the scenes that make these flyovers happen," said Lt. Col. Kurt "Huevos" Gallegos, who has been involved in planning the July 4th flyovers for the past four years.

"It's not just four pilots flying overhead ... there are many maintenance personnel that prep, launch and recover our aircraft," he added. Colonel Gallegos, is a native of Layton Utah and says he really enjoys giving a little something back to his community.

"For me, (the flyovers) are a way to give back to the local communities by leading four of the world's finest fighters overhead for all the public to see on a day in which we not only celebrate the independence of our nation, but also pay tribute to military members, pay respect to our flag, and honor all those qualities and characteristics that make us the greatest nation on the face of this earth."